As a risk-taking entrepreneur, John was accustomed to feeling stressed. But for months, John felt more on edge than ever. Two of his three business partners had readily agreed to the sale of one of their jointly owned companies. But for some reason, the fourth partner adamantly disagreed. With a majority vote, the partners did not need Eric’s vote in order to sell. But John didn’t want animosity.
He continued to try to discuss the decision with Eric. But suddenly, Eric, the business accountant, was so angry that he refused to turn over tax records requested by potential buyers. As if that situation wasn’t enough of a headache, John secretly feared that he was being watched or even followed. He avoided discussing this with his partners. But he was so concerned about it that he contacted local police.
Though detectives listened to his concerns, especially noting the frequent siting of a silver SUV with tinted windows, the department could not afford to conduct an investigation. They didn’t have the manpower, and frankly, John had no proof or evidence, just a hunch.
The police suggested a private investigator like those at . Very confidentially, investigators listened to all of the information John could offer; from the continuous feud with one of the partners to the fact that a certain vehicle continued to show up daily.
Posing as computer technicians, investigators conducted technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM), commonly referred to as a bug sweep, of the office. The TSCM sweep checks for eavesdropping devices, including covert surveillance and listening devices. Once John was notified that the bug detection had been positive, he informed the partners – except for Eric. He was still uncomfortable and felt Eric might be behind the bugs.
Another investigator started tailing John, to identify whether he was being followed. And if so, by whom and why. It didn’t take long for the investigator to spot the silver SUV and determine the vehicle was indeed following John. Surveillance equipment recorded the tail and provided images of the person. With that news, John asked investigators to determine if there were people following his other partners as well.
The next step was to conduct a computer forensic analysis on the company computers, starting with Eric’s. He wasn’t happy when John announced that computers were being replaced in the accounting area and packed up the old computers and carted them off. The forensic investigator didn’t have to go far to find evidence Eric needed. Digital forensics led to paper trails that handwriting experts said proved that Eric had forged his partner’s signatures and deposited falsified checks.
Apparently Eric had been biding his time setting aside his theft in the workplace and planning to disappear. The sale was putting a hitch in his plan, which is why he was doing everything to stall or derail the sale. With the evidence from the computer investigation and handwriting analysis, the partners had more than enough to take to the authorities.
Although they weren’t the answers that John wanted to hear, he got the facts and truth he needed to save his company.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations